What Maisie KnewPosted: August 20, 2014
I’ve been wondering whether to review this movie or not, because it’s really far out of my usual field – it’s a drama about a 6-year-old girl caught in the middle of her parents’ bitter divorce – but I read the script during my internship, and it was one of the few that I liked and recommended (the highest praise a script reader can give), so you can say I have a sort of professional interest in it.
What first drew me to this is that it’s actually based on a 1897 Henry James novel (!) which goes to show how universal and timeless the story is. I also love how it tells the story through the point of view of the titular Maisie, showing the adult world through heartbreaking bits and pieces. Maisie (Onata Aprile) is shuffled back and forth between an aging rocker mother Susanna (Julianne Moore) and a self-absorbed art dealer father Beale (Steve Coogan), who constantly use her to get back at each other. Even when Maisie finds some comfort in her stepparents Margo (Joanna Vanderham) and Lincoln (Alexander Skarsgård), they are swept up in the mess as well.
The performances are great. Usually when you read a script or a story, then watch the movie, there will always be something that doesn’t quite line up, right? In this case, all the main characters are exactly as I pictured them. And of course, Onata Aprile, as Maisie, is perfect. She has none of that precociousness you see in movie kids. A mushy performance could easily tip the story over to melodrama, but here, since everything is so understated, it’s all the more believable and painful.
Another thing I love about the film is the look of it. It looks very pretty in a modern NYC sort of way, and I’d totally steal Margo’s wardrobe (watch how it changes throughout the movie to reflect her character development.)
P/S: Not a spoiler, but my only comment on the script back when I read it was that the ending was too ambiguous, and here the ending is much more climactic and emphatic. I’d like to think I had something to do with that 😛